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  • African American National Advisory Council


    AANAC was created from the African American Women's Initiative started by Susan G. Komen for the Cure in response to statistics that show African Americans to have the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any ethnic group.

    Role and Responsibilities

    The council works with Komen for the Cure to address issues related to breast cancer in the African American community, promoting positive breast health and helping to decrease mortality rates of breast cancer in African American women. AANAC offers guidance to Komen staff and Komen Affiliates in the areas of grants, education, communications and public policy.

    Current AANAC Members

    Council Chairperson: Cassandra Simon, Ph.D., MSW

    Council Members:
    Mary E. Clark, M. Ed.
    Claudia M. Hardy, MPA
    Teresa Hyman, M.A.
    Monica E. Peek, MD, MPH
    Marva Mizell Price, DrPH, RN, FAAN
    Dianne Townsend, M.S.
    Elizabeth Ann Williams, Ph.D.


    Photo of Mary E. Clark 
    Mary E. Clark, M. Ed., of Sterling, VA, is a senior public health consultant. She has over 25 years of experience distinguished by a blend of public- and private-sector service that has focused on program design, implementation, policy development and application. Professionally, she served as the interim executive director of The Links, Incorporated, a non-profit service organization. In addition, she was principal of an international health management consulting company, where she was responsible for strategic planning, program development, and customer service. Ms. Clark is particularly skilled in building national and local partnerships to implement major public health initiatives. She has worked with the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design and implement breast cancer screening, education, and support programs. She also served as a member of the national steering committee of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NIH. She is also a past chair of the African American workgroup of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP).

    Claudia M. Hardy, MPA, of Birmingham, AL. Claudia M. Hardy is the program director for the Office of Community Outreach and the Deep South Network for Cancer Control, a five-year National Cancer Institute Community Network Program (CNP) awarded to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center. This is the second 5-year community-based, NCI funded program that Claudia has managed and directed in a senior staff/research capacity. Claudia provides the administrative leadership for this community-based cancer prevention program that is aimed at eliminating the disparity in cancer death rates between blacks and white in the Deep South.

    Prior to this appointment, Claudia served as the Coordinator for Community Outreach for the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center division of Cancer Control and Population Science. As outreach coordinator, she was responsible for assisting the Associate Director for Community Research and the Cancer Prevention and Control Planning Committee in identifying cancer issues and problems within the community and region; and developing outreach prevention and control programs to address specific needs. Previously, Claudia worked as the program manager/outreach coordinator for the UAB Continence Program in the Division of Gerontology.

    Claudia holds a BA in Communication Arts specializing in Public Relations and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) specializing in organizational management and behavior from UAB. In 2007, she was nominated to serve a 3-year term on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure African American National Advisory Council. She has also served on a number of community organization boards. In addition, she volunteers her time with the local Susan G. Komen for the Cure, North Central Alabama Affiliate; American Cancer Society Mid-South Division, The Alzheimer’s Research Center Minority Outreach Committee, United Way of Central Alabama Grants Allocation Committee and other local civic groups.

    Claudia's areas of interest and expertise are minority health issues/disparities, (community) organizational development, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), strategic planning, grants administration, group facilitator/trainer, minority recruitment and retention in clinical trails, grant reviewer, access/barriers to health care, program development, special event coordination and consultant to various related health issues. Claudia has trained over 1,000 Community Health Advisors in cancer prevention and control.

    Photo of Teresa Hyman 
    Teresa Hyman, M.A. is a native of Edgecombe County, NC, and a ten-year veteran of brand marketing. She received both her Bachelor of Science in English and her Master of Arts in Multicultural Literature from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. When her mother, Jackie Freeman, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007, Teresa worked with the NC Triangle Affiliate to establish the Edgecombe County Breast Cancer Taskforce to investigate the abnormally high incidences and mortality rate of breast cancer within her home community. Teresa has been recognized in her home community and at Hallmark Cards, Inc. for her work as a breast cancer and breast health advocate. Currently the Editorial Director for Mahogany cards at Hallmark Cards, Inc., Teresa incorporated Circle of Promise to Mahogany's card offerings in an effort to help spread the word about breast health, breast cancer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Circle of Promise campaign.

    Monica E. Peek, MD, MPH, of Chicago, IL, is an assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. She received her MD and MPH from the Johns Hopkins University and completed her residency training in internal medicine at Stanford University Hospital. Peek has won numerous awards for her community-based, culturally-tailored program, Sisters Working It Out, a program that empowers African-American women in Chicago's public housing projects to battle breast cancer and advocate for policy changes. She has also established several service-learning initiatives for medical students to work with mammography outreach programs and provide women's health education to medically underserved women in Chicago. Peek has conducted research on the access of African-American women to breast cancer screening and is the author of peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. As a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program office Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change, Dr. Peek is the senior author on the systematic review of health care interventions to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in breast cancer outcomes. She was named one of the "Top 40 under 40" in Chicago by Crain's Business Magazine in 2004 and was ranked among Chicago's Top Female Physicians in 2005.

    Photo of Marva Mizell Price 
    Marva Mizell Price, DrPH, RN, FAAN, Pittsboro, NC, is an Assistant Professor at Duke University School of Nursing. She has a personal and professional commitment to improve breast cancer detection and care. Dr. Price completed the first Institute on Cancer, Culture and Literacy at Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer in Tampa, Florida, 2002-2003. Dr. Price's background in nursing, volunteerism, research, community education and policy making, focuses largely on reducing health disparities in cancer especially for rural and minority populations. Some of her most memorable events include providing clinical breast exams to women at the YWCA who attended a mobile mammography unit and helping facilitate the first Susan G. Komen Bowl for the Cure sponsored by her sorority, which raised $8000.

    Photo of Cassandra Simon 
    Cassandra Simon, Ph.D., MSW, of Tuscaloosa, AL, is currently on faculty in the School of Social Work at The University of Alabama. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Simon was on faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington. A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Dr. Simon is a breast cancer survivor with a focused research agenda concentrating on the health care disparities with an emphasis on breast cancer prevention through early detection and health promotion. Issues of cancer survivorship and co-morbidity are also a part of her research agenda. She serves as an investigator for the Deep South Network for Cancer Control and is a Behavioral and Social Science Volunteer for the Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities Program of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Simon is the founding editor and currently serves as editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. At the grassroots level, she has been involved in the development of two breast cancer support groups focusing on the needs of African American women. An award winning professor and trained diversity leader, Dr. Simon has received recognition for teaching, research and promotion of social justice and diversity appreciation.

    Photo of Dianne Townsend 
    Dianne Townsend, M.S., of Jacksonville, FL, is a 22-year breast cancer survivor who uses every opportunity to promote breast health awareness and to encourage women to become active participants in their own health care. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education and Master of Science in Health Services Administration from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She served as president of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation North Florida Affiliate from 2003-2005. In 1997, she helped to establish Florida's first chapter of Sisters Network, a national breast cancer survivorship organization for African-American women, and continues to serve as chapter president. She has been recognized for her work as a breast cancer survivor/advocate and for her exemplary service to the health care community.

    Elizabeth Ann Williams, Ph.D., of Nashville, TN, is associate director of minority affairs at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. Dr. Williams has devoted extensive personal and professional time to the subjects of cancer survivorship among people of color, health disparities, social empowerment and health equity for people of color and the medically underserved. She received her doctorate and master's degrees in the field of applied anthropology with an emphasis in medical anthropology from the University of Kentucky (UK). During her training, Dr. Williams was a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pre-Doctoral Trainee and Lyman T. Johnson Fellow in the University of Kentucky's Department of Behavioral Science and The Graduate School, respectively. After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Williams served on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology and Geography at Georgia State University (GSU). Before joining the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in 2005, Dr. Williams served as the inaugural director of disparity elimination in the Office of the Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health. She was a Kellogg Foundation Emerging Leader in Public Health Fellow from 2005-2006.


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